DNC praises Sotomayor en espa

Democrats begin a push to capitalize politically with Latino voters on President Obama's Supreme Court pick.

Published May 26, 2009 10:27PM (EDT)

WASHINGTON -- Tim Kaine has decided to start speaking Spanish.

"De todas las maneras posibles de imaginar, Sonia Sotomayor ha vivido el sueño americano," a press release from the Democratic National Committee -- all en español -- quotes the chairman as saying. "Será la primera latina en la Corte Suprema de Justicia, la tercera mujer y la única jueza en la corte actual que tiene experiencia en las cortes judiciales." (Translated, that means, "In every way possible to imagine, Sonia Sotomayor has lived the American dream. She'll be the first Latina on the Supreme Court, the third woman and the only sitting justice on the court who has experience in trial courts." What's important for purposes of this release, though, isn't the part about the trial courts.)

The release is a translation of an earlier English-language one, congratulating President Obama and Sotomayor for the nomination. But aides sent it out to the DNC's entire press list, not just to Spanish-language news organizations. The point was hard to miss: el Presidente Obama es amigo de latinos. And the DNC wants everyone to know about it.

Considering the racial politics involved if Republicans wind up opposing the first Latina nominated to the Supreme Court, don't expect Democrats to be shy about reminding voters that Obama was the one who appointed her. There's already been a few bumps for the GOP; former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee issued a statement objecting to the nomination of "Maria Sotomayor." (Perhaps he had a different Puerto Rican woman from New York in mind?) And Democrats took notice. One operative joked that the translation of the DNC's Spanish-language release was, "Her name's not Maria, you bozo."

By Mike Madden

Mike Madden is Salon's Washington correspondent. A complete listing of his articles is here. Follow him on Twitter here.

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